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Pung Speaker Series: The flavorful journey of Groovy Donuts

By Taylor Hindman, student writer
Monday, April 8, 2024

Andrew Gauthier (B.A. Finance ’11), founder of Groovy Donuts, was featured as the latest guest in the spring 2024 Roy S. Pung Executive Speaker Series. Groovy Donuts serves award-winning, handcrafted doughnuts and locally roasted coffee at locations in East Lansing and Williamston, Michigan. In March, he joined MBA students with his wife and business partner, Monica Gauthier (B.S. Fisheries and Wildlife Management ’12), to share their unique entrepreneurial perspective.

Before starting their business, Andrew worked for Wells Fargo as an investment banking analyst and Monica served as a laboratory manager and research technologist in the MSU Aquatic Animal Health Lab (Fisheries Disease Management) and MSU Electric Fish Lab. One day, Andrew was enjoying lunch with his dad at the Peanut Barrel, and inspiration sparked. His dad craved coffee and a doughnut for dessert. However, there were limited locations in the Lansing area. That very night, Andrew began crafting the business plan and planned out his establishment, becoming an LLC in March 2015.

In June 2015, Monica officially joined Groovy Donuts, originally as a front-of-house manager to assist with personnel, customer care and standard operating procedures. The two were both fully committed to the success of Groovy Donuts, and as of Sept. 1, 2015, they finally opened for business at their first location in Williamston, marking the beginning of their flavorful journey.

It didn’t take long for Andrew and Monica to encounter their first major startup scare: New Year’s resolutions. The following January proved to be a tough month for the new entrepreneurs as people committed to being healthier — which, for many people, meant avoiding tasty doughnuts. Nevertheless, the two were able to pursue and eventually open a second store in East Lansing in September 2016. Overnight, staffing tripled, along with production efforts. While revenues surged, their expenses followed suit.

Throughout the years, they found ways to expand their business by attending festivals, collaborating with a Lansing favorite farm market, Horrocks, and attending events that could expand their business. Despite facing inevitable challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, integrating a new business or employee challenges, they always made it through.

“When you are passionate about the work you are doing, it makes the hard work feel impactful,” Andrew said. Monica expanded upon that, stating, “I love what I do because I can spread joy and help others succeed.”

This year, on Feb. 13, Groovy Donuts achieved a remarkable milestone, experiencing its highest revenue day ever on Fat Tuesday. With the fewest customer complaints, quickest customer wait time and cutting the total baking time by 12 hours, the company compiled 10,000 paczkis that day.

“When you are passionate about the work you are doing, it makes the hard work feel impactful.”

The entrepreneurs gave students in the audience many takeaways of advice, and one to hold onto the most: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make sure to seek out any resources available for your business development. Never assume that it’s taboo to ask. That is the hardest part when learning to run a business, is to just ask for help. That’s how you get things done and make connections.”

Andrew and Monica showcase what successful partnership is in business and in life. They held their wedding in 2022 at the Peanut Barrel, with their very own Groovy Donuts served at the celebration. Topping it off, Groovy Donuts has enjoyed sweet success and recognition, having been awarded the 2023 Capital Region Best Small Business, 2023 Ten Over the Next Ten Award and 2023 Greater Lansing Entrepreneur(s) of the Year Award.

This past year, the Broad College formed a delightful partnership with Groovy Donuts for #NationalDonutDay, featuring a look inside the small business as a Groovy Journey Into Deliciousness on Instagram.

More information on the upcoming 2023–24 Pung Speaker Series, as well as information on past events, is available via the Full-Time MBA program.

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